If evolution is mindless, why does it favor survival?

Posted on September 3, 2017 By

Atheist biologists would have you believe that evolutionary processes are mindless, and purposeless. But the problem for such a claim is that survival is a goal or purpose. There is simply no way around this. If evolution is truly mindless and purposeless, why does it favor survival over non-survival?

Physicist Amit Goswami writes in his book Creative Evolution. A Physicist’s Resolution Between Darwinism and Intelligent Design:

“The Darwinian theory of evolution is based on natural selection: Nature selects those organisms that are fittest to survive. In the materialist view, an organism is just a bundle of molecules that are completely specified by their physical and chemical properties. Nowhere among these properties will you find a property called survivability. No piece of inanimate matter has ever attempted to survive or in any way tried to maintain its integrity under any circumstances. But living bodies do exhibit a property called survivability. Now the paradox. A Darwinist would say that the survivability of the living form comes from evolutionary adaptation via natural selection. But natural selection itself depends on survival of the fittest.”

“See the circularity of the argument? Survival depends on evolution, but evolution depends on survival! A paradox is a sure-fire sign that the basic assumptions of the paradigm are incomplete or inconsistent; they need a reexamination.”

Atheists cannot have it both ways: Either life is the result of mindless and purposeless processes, or it is not. If the ultimate source of life is particles of matter mindlessly and purposelessly bumping into one another (as atheism alleges), then why does evolution favor survival? How can mindless and purposeless processes favor survival? 

Perhaps this is why John Ray, the English naturalist who is considered by many to be the founder of modern biology wrote:

“A wonder it must be that there should be any man found so stupid as to persuade himself that this most beautiful world could be produced by the fortuitous concourse of atoms.”

 


  1. Matt Smith says:

    Hi Scott. If you wanted to understand Evolution, and thus perhaps offer a better critique, why not actually read a book on the topic, actually written by a scientist working in the field? That way silly posts like this would be filtered out before being published.

    Need I point out yet again that reading a physicist pontificating on biology is not worth the price of admission? I’m sure there are theist biologists who actually understand the topic, if you feel it’s some kind of atheist conspiracy. The part you’ve quoted is absolute nonsense which is why it’s from a book rather than a peer reviewed paper.

    • Scott Youngren says:

      Matt,

      I have read a lot written by biologists. Here is a bit for you:

      Lynn Margulis (recently deceased) was a professor of biology from University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and Oxford University (and winner of the U.S. Presidential Medal for Science). She discusses the persistence of neo-Darwinian theory, despite its deteriorating scientific basis, with journalist Susan Mazur in The Altenberg 16: An Expose of the Evolution Industry:

      Margulis: “If enough favorable mutations occur, was the erroneous extrapolation, a change from one species to another would concurrently occur.”

      Mazur: “So a certain dishonesty set in?”

      Margulis: “No. It was not dishonesty. I think it was wish-fulfillment and social momentum. Assumptions, made but not verified, were taught as fact.”

      Mazur: “But a whole industry grew up.”

      Margulis: “Yes, but people are always more loyal to their tribal group than to any abstract notion of ‘truth’ – scientists especially. If not they are unemployable. It is professional suicide to continually contradict one’s teachers or social leaders.”

    • colin adkins says:

      Matt,
      If you wanted to understand atheism’s worldview and thus perhaps offer a better critique of (scientific naturalism, aka evolutionism), why not actually read a book on the topic. Then perhaps you might have some credibility. So far what you have misquoted and failed to argue on the non existence of such literature is absolute nonsense. Would u like to defend the many “icons’ of evolution that are proven frauds? Would u like their self confessed “counter-intuitive” worldview that says “materialism is absolute..”

      • Matt Smith says:

        Hello Colin,

        I can tell you the name of one essential Christian book, it’s called the Bible. As I mentioned before, I’m pretty sure you must read that book to be considered a Christian.

        Can you tell me the name of the equivalent atheist tome please? The one book that all atheists must read. If not, let’s just drop the pretense – you’re not fooling anyone. If you are a theist I’m sure you believe there’s some kind of penalty for lying in any case.

        • Gerry De naro says:

          “Can you tell me the name of the the one book that all atheists must read?”
          If your going to pretend to be a spokesman/expert for atheism, science, scientism, materialism, cosmology, evolutionism, secularism and worldviews at least show you have some idea of what the most celebrated proponents are claiming. Go back and read the litany of texts and authors that we have recommended to you that you refuse to even admit exist. Either put up or drop the pretense that atheism is a mere non belief and makes no claims.

          • Matt Smith says:

            Gerry, you are an expert in the denial of reality. I asked you to name the ‘atheist Bible’ which we both know does not exist. You insist on claiming it does, but now it’s a ‘litany of texts’ instead. In short, you’re talking nonsense again.

            Atheists have one and only one essential claim: not to believe in any God or Gods. Trying to tack anything else on is just a futile straw man on your part.

  2. William Brown says:

    Scott,

    My understanding is that any genetic mutation that favors better survival should have a greater likelihood of being passed on to offspring, thus perpetuating that gene in future generations. For example, say a random mutation occurs in a gene that results in better resistance to certain infections that otherwise could cause death prior to reproductive age. Certainly that genetic mutation would be a beneficial one, enhancing the survival of the species, and would thus be passed on to further generations.

    This is the genius of Darwin’s (and Mendel’s, plus many others before Darwin) thesis, and it is genius indeed. All that said, I believe that there are flaws in this logical chain that are being revealed by some very good science. For example, the mechanism required for the creation of “good mutations” may not be feasible. The theory may be mere wishful thinking, a house of cards. Also the time required for macroevolution is being shown to make evolution of new species impossible. Microevolution, sure; macroevolution just not remotely possible.

    Many other problems are arising, such as the problem of irreducible complexity in protein molecules, statistical issues such as the probabilities of good mutations being so infinitesimally small that bad mutations would eradicate every species long, long before any forward evolution could remotely be possible, etc., etc.
    The literature is fascinating on this – we have really been believing and teaching a fairy tale I believe.

    • Scott Youngren says:

      William,

      Thanks so much for your comments! Relevant to what you write about “believing and teaching a fairytale,” biologist Lynn Margulis (winner of the U.S. Presidential Medal for Science) discusses the persistence of neo-Darwinian theory, despite its deteriorating scientific basis, with journalist Susan Mazur in The Altenberg 16: An Expose of the Evolution Industry:

      Margulis: “If enough favorable mutations occur, was the erroneous extrapolation, a change from one species to another would concurrently occur.”

      Mazur: “So a certain dishonesty set in?”

      Margulis: “No. It was not dishonesty. I think it was wish-fulfillment and social momentum. Assumptions, made but not verified, were taught as fact.”

      Mazur: “But a whole industry grew up.”

      Margulis: “Yes, but people are always more loyal to their tribal group than to any abstract notion of ‘truth’ – scientists especially. If not they are unemployable. It is professional suicide to continually contradict one’s teachers or social leaders.”

      Atheistic conclusions which purportedly arise from scientific research, such as neo-Darwinism, can hardly be characterized as the logical result of an objective examination of facts. Rather, they precede the examination of facts and reflect the religious beliefs of a scientist’s “tribal group.” The late, great Harvard University paleontologist, evolutionary biologist, and historian of science Stephen J. Gould commented that:

      “Unconscious or dimly perceived finagling is probably endemic in science, since scientists are human beings rooted in cultural contexts, not automatons directed toward external truth.”

      The vast majority of mutations are harmful, and an organism cannot evolve from random mutations with such a state of affairs. Cambridge University physicist and mathematician Fred Hoyle, despite being atheist, admits in his book Mathematics of Evolution:

      “The reason why most mutations must be bad is of course that random changes made to any complex structure lead to many more downward steps in the operating efficiency of the structure than to upward steps. How the occasional lucky improvement is to lead to positive evolution is a puzzle that has disturbed many mathematicians.”

      Further, the purported randomness of Darwinian evolution can never be verified, and therefore stands in opposition to the scientific method itself. There are mathematical procedures for determining that a pattern is non-random, but there is no mathematical procedure for determining that a pattern is random. The renowned mathematician Gregory Chaitin writes in his paper Randomness and Mathematical Proof:

      “Although randomness can be precisely defined and can even be measured, a given number cannot be proved to be random. This enigma establishes a limit to what is possible in mathematics.”

  3. Matt Smith says:

    The truth of evolution says nothing much about the existence of a God or Gods, so I don’t perceive this to be an atheist/theist question in reality. Indeed, the Catholic Church which is the largest Christian denomination in the world does not set itself against it, being an (almost!) undeniable fact of the reality in which we find ourselves.

    Pope Francis says, “The evolution of nature does not contrast with the notion of creation, as evolution presupposes the creation of beings that evolve.” The church’s catechism has this to say, the the subject of the scientist, “The humble and persevering investigator of the secrets of nature is being led, as it were, by the hand of God in spite of himself, for it is God, the conserver of all things, who made them what they are.”

    Where has the scientist been led then? Well, in a 2014 survey of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the world’s largest multidisciplinary scientific professional society, 98% agree that humans and other living things have evolved over time. 90% agree that this was due to natural processes such as natural selection. Since this is a multidisciplinary group, what would you like to bet that the consensus among scientists – based on the data available – in relevant fields would give even higher figures?

    The reality is, just like flat earthers, young earth creationists are now a fringe group of extremists bound to an absurd world view that denies the truths now staring us in the face, for no good reason. You might not like the kind of God that evolution implies, but imagine for a minute that it was not the case. It’s difficult to give precise estimates, since we haven’t cataloged all the existing species, but some figures suggest that 99% of all species to have ever lived on Earth went extinct. Let’s assume that number is wrong (many unidentified microbes possibly out there), that still leaves us with over 5 billion species that we know have died out. What kind of ‘intelligent designer’ would that imply?! I guess all those billions of extinct animals are part of some massive global conspiracy against your very specific religious beliefs too!

    • Scott Youngren says:

      Matt,

      There is no conflict between theism and evolution. Rather, there is a conflict between theism and atheistic philosophical add-ons to evolutionary theory. If you strip “evolution” of these atheistic philosophical add-ons, it only means “change over time.” You would be hard pressed to find many people of any belief system who do not think that living things have changed over time.

      Christian philosopher Alvin Plantinga drives this point home in his book Where the Conflict Really Lies.

      The specific atheistic philosophical add-ons to evolutionary theory which I am referring to are mindlessness and randomness. Because evolution is mindless and random—so the atheist argument goes—there is no need to invoke God in the origin of life from non-living matter.

      But these atheistic philosophical add-ons suffer from some big problems:

      1) Randomness can never be verified, and therefore, the randomness and mindlessness of Darwinian evolution stands in opposition to the scientific method itself. There are mathematical procedures for determining that a pattern is non-random. As one example, with SETI [The Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence, which was originally a NASA program] the recognition of intelligent agency is regarded as lying within the legitimate scope of natural science. A long sequence of prime numbers in a radio wave from space, for example, is regarded by SETI as being a clear indicator of intelligent agency.

      But, although the determination of non-randomness is regarded as lying within the scope of legitimate science, there is no way to scientifically or mathematically determine that a pattern is random. The renowned mathematician Gregory Chaitin from his paper Randomness and Mathematical Proof:

      “Although randomness can be precisely defined and can even be measured, a given number cannot be proved to be random. This enigma establishes a limit to what is possible in mathematics.”

      2) Recent science (which atheistic science popularizers such as Richard Dawkins and Jerry Coyne disregard) demonstrates that evolutionary processes are not random, but rather, directed. Scientists such as the famous evolutionary biologist and geneticist Theodosius Dobzhansky conducted six decades of research in which fruit flies were exposed to radiation in order to induce the mutation of genes, with the intent of accelerating evolution. But after 60 years of research, and despite the fact that a new generation of fruit flies occurs every 11 days, no new species emerged, or even a new enzyme. Rather, the only results are what amount to frankenflies, including mutant fruit flies with legs growing out of their heads where their antennae belong.

      So, if it is not random, how does change over time (the definition of evolution stripped of its atheistic philosophical add-ons) really happen?

      Perry Marshall answers in Evolution 2.0:

      “Remember the fruit fly experiments? [Nobel Prize-winning biologist Barbara] McClintock’s experiments were similar. She too used organisms damaged by radiation. She discovered that radiation broke chromosomes and triggered editing systems in real time. Cells would reconstruct the damaged chromosome with another section of radiation-broken genetic material.”

      “…Barbara McClintock had discovered that plants possess the ability to recognize that data has been corrupted. Then they repair it with newly activated genome elements, and in the process of repairing the data, the plants can develop new features!”

      Random mutation and natural selection is not what drives evolution (as Darwinism insists). Rather, directed processes drive evolution. The directed process mentioned above is known as transposition, and amounts to a cut/copy/paste of genetic information within a cell. The discovery of transposition won Barbara McClintock the Nobel Prize in biology, and her face on a U.S. postage stamp.

      Matt, I agree with you that Young Earth Creationism is a weird belief which does not have support from science. But Christians who believe in YEC are a fringe minority.

      Further, there are plenty of atheists who hold weird beliefs. Ultra-elite atheist scientists clearly know that DNA is the product of a conscious and intelligent mind. This is why so many of them have adopted the aliens-brought-life-to-earth-in-thier-spaceship explanation for the origin of life from non-living matter (known as “directed panspermia”).

      This would include Francis Crick, the atheist biologist who is famous as the co-discoverer of the DNA double helix. Click here to read an article which discusses his endorsement of this hypothesis in his book Life Itself.

      Click here to watch Richard Dawkins (the world’s most famous atheist biologist) endorsing this hypothesis in an interview.

      Other very prominent atheist scientists who endorse this hypothesis include the physicist and mathematician Fred Hoyle, the astronomer Carl Sagan, the biologist Chandra Wickramsinghe, and the chemist Leslie Orgel. Fred Hoyle, an extremely prominent physicist and mathematician from Cambridge University, admits the following, despite being an atheist:

      “A common sense interpretation of the facts suggests that a superintellect has monkeyed with physics, as well as with chemistry and biology, and that there are no blind forces worth speaking about in nature. The numbers one calculates from the facts seem to me so overwhelming as to put this conclusion almost beyond question.”

      Hoyle’s science led him to the inescapable conclusion that a superior intelligence lies behind nature, but his atheist belief system requires him to reject God. Therefore, to rectify the discrepancy between his science and his atheist belief system, he chose to adopt the aliens-brought-life-to-Earth-in-their-spaceship hypothesis.

      Matt, you ask, “What kind of designer would that imply?” (in reference to a world which has so many extinct species). God has a very good reason in allowing “natural evil” (such as extinctions, genetic diseases, earthquakes, etc.). William Dembski explains in The End of Christianity: Finding a Good God In An Evil World:

      “Humanity, in becoming captive to evil, gave its consent. Humans are complicit in the evil from which God is striving to deliver us. For redemption effectively to deliver humanity from evil therefore requires us to be clear as to precisely what we have consented to in rebelling against God and embracing evil. To achieve this clarity, humanity must experience the full brunt of the evil that we have set in motion, and this requires that the creation itself fully manifest the consequences of humanity’s rebellion against God. This does not mean that the creation has to become as corrupt as it could possibly be. But it does mean that the creation must not conceal or soft-sell the gravity of sin. …In answer, then, to why a benevolent God would allow natural evil to afflict an otherwise innocent nature in response to human moral evil, we can say that it is to manifest the full consequences of human sin so that when Christ redeems us, we may clearly understand what we have been redeemed from. Without this clarity about the evil we have set in motion, we will always be in danger of reverting back to it because we do not see its gravity.”

      By allowing natural evil, God is thus responding somewhat like the parents of a 12 year-old who, upon catching the child smoking a cigarette, force him to go into the closet and finish the entire pack so that he can grasp the consequences of his choice.

      • Matt Smith says:

        Scott, Dawkins doesn’t really believe in directed panspermia. I’m well aware of the context of that deceptive clip. It also doesn’t answer the question of how those alien life forms began initially, so is a total red herring in any case.

        There are no such things as ‘atheist add-ons’ to Evolution. Pick up a Biology textbook and read it, then you’ll see. Or don’t, and simply notice the Pope doesn’t share your strange reservations. Let’s assume for a second you are correct though, and intelligence directed the evolutionary process. How under that model would you account for those 5 billion species going extinct? An atheist conspiracy?!

        • Scott Youngren says:

          Matt,

          In his book The Blind Watchmaker, Dawkins wrote: “Biology is the study of complicated things that give the appearance of having been designed for a purpose.” I did not use the word “believe” in reference to Dawkins endorsement of directed panspermia. But he clearly does endorse it as a possibility, as you can see in the video that I linked to:



          So Dawkins is not opposed to intelligent designers, just one intelligent designer in particular: God.

          Matt, if the randomness and mindlessness is not a philosophical add-on to Darwinian theory, then please cite the SPECIFIC scientific research which demonstrates that evolution is random and mindless. Hint: You won’t, because you can’t, because there is no such research. As I pointed out before, randomness is unverifiable. There is no scientific or mathematical procedure for verifying randomness.

        • Gerry De naro says:

          “Dawkins doesn’t really believe in directed panspermia. ”
          Actually “really”, he does because the alternative he says “we are back to a miracle” Biologists and biochemists havent got a clue about the origin of life, despite millions of attempts to create cells, not from an inorganic soup but from living cells they break open in a petre dish. Utter fail! Likewise for 40 years attempting to evolve bacteria and fruit flies into different species. All they’ve proven is inherent species limitations. If we cant do it under very sophisticated parameters in a lab how would blind undirected processes do it?
          And for the record on Panspermia, Dawkins is merely mouthing what Francis Crick said as a possible explanation of how life began on earth, “arriving on a UFO or meteorite in some primative format.
          As for species going extinct one would think that the world is devoid of flora and fauna. We all know that micro evolution is actually adaptation. The peppered moth, Peking man and finch beak icons of evolution are a joke. A fast footed deer, a short tailed rat, a long neck turtle surviving its environment to breed and multiply maybe called ‘natural selection” but is NOT evolution – moleucules to man by mindless processes.
          What is the problem for say, some species of dogs disappearing, while other are created by selective breeding? Arent they all the same “kind” with coyotes and wolves? Actually we are finding numerous living fossils of modern plants and animals buried with dinosaurs. as Karl Warner has discovered. A fact not admitted to by many museums.
          Warner travelled the world to find examples of every major phyla living including plants buried in the same strata with dinosaurs, e.g. ducks, flamingos hedgehogs, possums. (see “Truth About The Fossil Record Dr. Carl Werner”. He concludes “By leaving out modern animals, the pretense is made that life was different in the past.” Why are we being deliberately deceived? Because as Dawkins says our philosophical commitment to materialism.

          Conrad Hyers, in The Meaning of Creation “scientism and evolutionism (not science and evolution) are among the causes of atheism and materialism.

      • Gerry De naro says:

        Scott
        Many theists accept evolution as a theory that is not blind or undirected but the product of common design, not common descent. What really troubles me however, about evolution is not the accuracy of its claims and suggested mechanisms, it is the implications it has for morality and human flourishing. The Dembski quote is worrying ““Humanity, in becoming captive to evil, gave its consent.”
        If we’re all just semi-evolved apes, morality is a social construct and evolution is the foundational philosophy for racism. Many wont know it, but Darwin’s Origin of Species included in the title “The preservation of favoured races in the struggle for life”. Darwin was quite the racist. He thought natives were merely “higher animals”. SJ Gould added “biological arguments for racism were common before 1850 but they increased dramatically with the acceptance of evolutionary theory”
        Lenin “atheism is a necessary component of our program.”
        Karl Marx, “my objective in life is to dethrone God and destroy capitalism”
        Sir Arthur Keith wrote “The German Fuhrer…has consistently sought to make the practices of Germany conform to the theory of evolution”
        Hitler as reported by his secretary, Martin Bormann said ‘“The law of selection justifies this incessant struggle, by allowing the survival of the fittest…. Christianity is a rebellion against natural law, a protest against nature It is more even than religion; it is the will to create mankind anew.”. The Nazis were “National Aryan Socialists.”
        Hitler often quoted materialist philosophers like his idol Frederic Neitzsche with glee. One of his favorite sayings was “the destruction of the weak is a good thing for the survival of the strong for nature intended it that way.” I’m half expecting the major dissenting voice on this website to claim Hitler was a christian which is is one of the most pernicious lies perpetrated by modern secularists.
        Alan Bullock; Hitler: a Study in Tyranny; Harper Perennial Edition 1991; p219: wrote “Hitler had been brought up a Catholic and was impressed by the organisation and power of the Church… [but] to its teachings he showed only the sharpest hostility… he detested [Christianity]’s ethics in particular”. “National Socialism and religion cannot exist together” Adoft Hitler

    • colin adkins says:

      For someone who condescendingly and mistakenly declared an eminent physicist is not qualified to make a claim about biology, I find your quote about a religious leader’s statement on the origin of nature (whether true or false) an exercise in hypocrisy.
      Moreover, the association of flat earthers with young earth creationists being one and the same “fringe group of extremists bound to an absurd world view” is yet another example of your inability to make rational associations. As for the age of the earth we should all follow the evidence where it leads. Here is a
      NBC interview (on youtube) with Prof Mary Schweitzier, Nth Carolina University
      TV Presenter “you don’t expect to find soft tissue in fossilized dinosaur bones, 70million years old, do you?”
      Mary; “Not al all”..”it’s utterly shocking” “a lot of our science of chemical and molecular breakdown doesn’t allow for this”
      Tv Presenter “are you amazed at the quality (elasticity) of these remains?
      Mary, “absolutely, it doesn’t seem possible!”, “I cant explain it to be honest.”

      I hear she’s now claiming that iron found in blood has likely preserved soft tissue and whole cells for 70 million years. Must have been a very intelligently-designed mathematical extrapolation to verify that conclusion. Blase Pascal said it best “some people believe whatever they want, not on the basis of evidence, but what they find attractive.”
      http://www.nature.com/news/university-sued-after-firing-creationist-fossil-hunter-1.16281

      • Matt Smith says:

        Hi again Colin,

        You totally missed the point, but no, an eminent scientist, no matter how smart, from an unrelated field is not qualified to write a book on biology. However, I wasn’t using the Pope’s statement to illustrate that Evolution is correct, I was using it to illustrate that a belief in the Christian God is considered by the leader of the largest denomination to be compatible with the reality of the Theory.

        I see you mention intelligent design in your post, would you care to have a crack at answering the conundrum as to why an omnipotent, omniscient designer would crank out an alarming 5 billion species that all somehow bit the dust? Seems like a failure of epic proportions to me, and so wasteful!

  4. Jeff Mwangi says:

    Colin Adkins, I think after reading Matt Smith’s comments on some various articles, it’s safe to say that Mr. Smith has no interest in understanding what he critiques. The straw man fallacies he commits and the ad hominem attacks on the physicist Amit Goswami rather attacking his argument. He’s literally refusing to see that atheism is a world view. When you state God doesnt exist, this sounds like an important point and you have to state your reasons for believing so. X cannot equal non X so one must give a reason why X it cannot equal to none X just as atheists must give a good reasons why they don’t believe in God.

    From Mr. Smith’s reasons of not believing in God is that there’s no evidence. Vox Day states that the fact you haven’t seen the evidence of God is meaningless because a majority of people haven’t seen any evidence of quantum mechanics or evolution. Other than the experts in these fields, no one is capable of analyzing the evidence themselves. The argument from lack of evidence fails because it looks at one direction but curiously ignores the other directions.

    Another comment that shocked me is Matt Smith was arguing with Gerry Denaro about the evidence of prayer. He stated that there’s no evidence that prayer affected reality. Unfortunately for him, he fails to look at what Christianity has done over the years since Jesus Christ appeared on earth. Vox Day stated in the same book that Christians give three more times than atheists and it’s not hard to believe this because Christians have been commanded to give to the poor. Wasn’t it a Christian, Mr. Wilberforce who ended slavery in England??

    Mr. Youngren, honestly, after a year of thinking about this, I’ve actually changed my mind. Welcome back, I wondered why you haven’t been updating articles on your website for about a year. It’s good to have you back sir. Thumbs up. Also, I wasn’t able to comment before. I think there’s a problem with the comment section.

  5. William Brown says:

    From Scott’s original post: “Atheist biologists would have you believe that evolutionary processes are mindless, and purposeless. But the problem for such a claim is that survival is a goal or purpose. There is simply no way around this. If evolution is truly mindless and purposeless, why does it favor survival over non-survival?”

    I think this can be cleared up fairly simply: The theory or model of evolution implies random mutation. The key term for the purposes of this thread is “random”. Random does not imply any direction, purpose, or goal. By the theory, some mutations will happen to be good ones. It is these that will enhance survival and thus increased chances of reproduction (Natural selection, the other half of Darwin’s theory).

    The problem that I think Scott is alluding to is the language often employed by evolution advocates, using terms like “goal” and “direction” which assume teleology or purpose in what is supposed to be a purely materialistic process. This language naturally arises (which is an interesting phenomenon in itself) and often seems to take on a life of its own, whereby evolution becomes like a supernatural, purpose driven process.

    As I mentioned in my post above, the theory was genius in Darwin’s time, but since then has eroded significantly The theory of macroevolution, the creation of new species through random mutations, should now be seen for what it is: impossible and hopelessly simplistic.

  6. William Brown says:

    A little late, but this was posted on “The Thomisitc Bent” today…….

    Some Works on Evolution
    by humble smith

    Evolutionary biologists have, since Darwin, held that random mutations are filtered by natural selection to produce the biological life that we now see. Since Darwin they have spoken in generalities, assuming that the mutations at the sub-cell level are actually happening across almost innumerable generations. In modern times, the sciences have not only begun to be able to measure such changes, but more profoundly, the mathematicians have begun to apply standard modeling to biology. Philosophers are also not playing friendly to the evolutionists. The result is somewhat troubling for the Neo-Darwinist. Several writers have gotten quite a bit of attention.

    Arguably the most profound was Thomas Nagel’s landmark work, Mind and Cosmos: Why the Materialist Neo-Darwinian Conception of Nature is Almost Certainly Wrong. What makes Nagel’s work so important is that Nagel is a committed atheist and cannot be accused of bringing religion into the discussion. “I believe true appreciation for the difficulty of the problem must eventually change our conception of the place of the physical sciences in describing the natural order.”(p.3) “The more details we learn about the chemical basis of life and the intricacy of the genetic code, the more unbelievable the standard historical account becomes.” (p.5)

    David Berlinski, with a PhD from Princeton and having done good academic work in molecular bioloty, is a secular Jew. He cannot be explained away as a raving lunatic creationist. Berlinski states:

    Why should a limited and finite organ such as the human brain have the power to see into the heart of matter or mathematics? These are subjects that have nothing to do with the Darwinian business of scrabbling up the greasy pole of life. It is as if the liver, in addition to producing bile, were to demonstrate a unexpected ability to play the violin. This is a question that Darwinian biology has not yet answered.

    On the mathematical side, two dozen papers presented at a Cornell symposium were published in Biological Information: New Perspectives (World Scientific, 2013). One of them was titled Limits of Chaos and Progress in Evolutionary Dynamics by William F. Basener. In it, the author claims “The mathematics is basic topology and the theorems we prove are quite simple; they could be basic homework exercises in an upper level undergraduate course in dynamical systems. However, the insights resulting from the application do not seem to be generally known or understood in the study of evolutionary dynamics, either in theory or application.”(p.91) His paper shows:

    Our first conclusion is that chaos and nonlinear dynamical system contribute nothing to the ongoing increase in complexity of evolutionary fitness of biological systems. . . . Second, the evolutionary process driven by mutation-selection, in both mathematical models and directly observed behavior, is that of a system going to an equilibrium and staying there. . . There is nothing inherent in the fitness-driven mathematical system that leads to ongoing progress . . .” (p.101)

    A new work by mathematicians has laid a significant challenge at the feet of the evolutionist. Introduction to Evolutionary Informatics by Marks, Dembski, Ewart, explores the field of possible mathematical explanations for biological evolution, and claims there are no viable mathematical explanations.

    For years evolutionists could speak in generalities about mutations happening, and could do so without much question as long as they stayed on the level of species. But once the DNA started being actually measured, the theories began to have trouble. Biologists predicted that billions of mutations would leave an animal’s DNA with a good deal of “junk DNA” But the ENCODE project mapped a large portion of human DNA and proved just the opposite. What was previously held to be useless, trash DNA turned out to be complex biological code that has a purpose.

    Michael Behe’s book The Edge of Evolution: The Search for the Limits of Darwinism, is interesting in that Behe has claimed at times to be a theistic evolutionist. Nevertheless, in this book he explores a biological system that is wide and deep: how malaria has responded against vaccines. The study is interesting in that it can be done on huge populations over a very long period of time and mathematically measured. Behe’s case is that the math shows that standard evolution can accomplish quite little.

    These authors, plus those of noted academics like Alvin Plantinga, Stephen Meyer, and John Lennox, have made a significant challenge to the wall that biologists have erected. Those of us that study the logic of arguments can go all the way back to law professor Phillip E. Johnson’s 1991 book Darwin on Trial to find that when the curtain of scientism is pulled back, the evolutionists resort to leaps of logic and ad hominem arguments. Even better, get Johnson’s work Reason in the Balance where he systematically dismantles the flawed conclusions of the evolutionists as only a tenured law professor could.

    Any fair-minded student of science would be wise to recognize that their are emotional biases on all sides that shape the conclusions. Any fair-minded student would also be wise to read some of the authors presented here and weigh their arguments with an open mind.

  7. Grace Aster says:

    Hello, Scott. This might seem like a little bit off from the main topic. But how can you reconcile a God with the prevalence of genetic diseases which is ubiquitous around the globe?

    If we were “directedly” evolved (designed, not random) by God, as you have suggested, then why did these deformities even exist? Why would a good God even bother to design these?

    I find it hard to reconcile this with the idea of a benevolent God, especially since these diseases are prominent in young children. I eagerly searched for the answers from various sites but none of them provide me with cogent arguments. Thus, I would to hear your view concerning this particular issue. I, however find the idea that random mutation and natural selection brought these maladies as convincing even though I am actually an ardent believer.

    And pardon my English, as I am not a native speaker of this languange.

    • God Evidence says:

      Grace,

      That is a perfectly legitimate question. Our rebellion from God (sin) is an extremely bad thing. If God were to make our world a paradise, then we would not be forced to confront the gravity of our sin. I wrote an essay titled If God is Real, Why is There Suffering which I feel will help you with your question. Some excerpts: William Dembski explains in The End of Christianity: Finding a Good God In An Evil World:

      “Humanity, in becoming captive to evil, gave its consent. Humans are complicit in the evil from which God is striving to deliver us. For redemption effectively to deliver humanity from evil therefore requires us to be clear as to precisely what we have consented to in rebelling against God and embracing evil. To achieve this clarity, humanity must experience the full brunt of the evil that we have set in motion, and this requires that the creation itself fully manifest the consequences of humanity’s rebellion against God.”

      “This does not mean that the creation has to become as corrupt as it could possibly be. But it does mean that the creation must not conceal or soft-sell the gravity of sin. …In answer, then, to why a benevolent God would allow natural evil to afflict an otherwise innocent nature in response to human moral evil, we can say that it is to manifest the full consequences of human sin so that when Christ redeems us, we may clearly understand what we have been redeemed from. Without this clarity about the evil we have set in motion, we will always be in danger of reverting back to it because we do not see its gravity.”

      By allowing natural evil (such as genetic diseases), God is thus responding somewhat like the parents of a 12 year-old who, upon catching the child smoking a cigarette, force him to go into the closet and finish the entire pack so that he can grasp the consequences of his choice.

      The existence of evil is frequently presented as a problem for theism. But, in reality, it is a problem for atheism…and a devastating problem. I elaborate on this point in Atheism’s Problem of Evil. An excerpt:

      Evil can only exist as a deviation from good, much as crookedness can only exist as a deviation from straightness. But what is the source of goodness, and who or what determines just what good is? C.S. Lewis points how the need for a source of goodness poses a problem for atheism:

      “My argument against God [when I was an atheist] was that the universe seemed so cruel and unjust. But how had I got this idea of just and unjust? A man does not call a line crooked unless he has some idea of a straight line. What was I comparing this universe with when I called it unjust?”

      On atheism, there is no objective standard of good or evil, because atheism declares that the natural world is all that exists, and the natural world is valueless: There is no such thing as a good or bad bird, or a good or bad tree, etc. Therefore, one cannot use the study of the natural world (science) to determine right and wrong. As Albert Einstein put it:

      “You are right in speaking of the moral foundations of science, but you cannot turn around and speak of the scientific foundations of morality.”

      Grace, you apply the term “maladies” to genetic diseases. But, if atheism is true, the concept “maladies” makes no sense because there can be neither good nor bad. The famous atheist biologist Richard Dawkins superbly expressed the lack of right or wrong in a godless universe when he wrote, in his book River Out of Eden, “There is no good and there is no evil, ‘DNA just is and we dance to its music.”

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